RockPhotoAid came about almost by accident, set up by photographer Ted Harvey to help raise money and awareness for children living in poverty in Brazil. In the 1970s Ted worked as a freelance rock photographer shooting all the big bands as they passed through Sydney, Australia. Ted had lots of exposure to famous musicians and bands such as Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Deep Purple, Jethro Tull, Cat Stevens and Elton John. "Until recently I never really ever thought about it,” says Ted. "One day a friend asked me about my past and when she learnt I had photographed Zeppelin she said that she wanted to see my photos. I actually couldn’t even remember if I still had the negatives or where they were. "I was having a spring clean-out taking stuff to the tip and came across over 100 of my original negatives! I realised that no one apart from Zeppelin had ever seen the photos because through an odd set of circumstances they were never seen or published at the time.
“After the gig I visited Zeppelin at their hotel and gave them some concert photos. Robert Plant (the singer) actually told me they were the best photos that anyone had taken of them in the world. I just figured maybe he hadn't seen many!" Someone described the finding of the Zeppelin photos as being rather like unearthing a unseen cache of early Beatles pictures. Despite selling millions of albums Led Zeppelin were notoriously camera-shy and almost inaccessible to the media and few photographs of their performances exist and those that do tend to be continually recycled.
“I was inspired by BandAid," says Ted. "I thought that if a lot of rock musicians could raise money, maybe a rock-photographer could also raise money.” RockPhotoAid project aims to support Brazilian children now living in poverty though Compassion Australia and their Brazilian partners. First up in fund-raising events is a touring exhibition of Harvey's extraordinary photos, along with artists’ works relating to the photos, including works by Archibald winner Adam Cullen and international artist Ben Quilty. The exhibition premieres in Lismore Regional Gallery on April 4 2007, before touring major cities and regional areas then heading overseas to the UK and USA in about 18 months time.